The State and Women’s Organizations in Turkey: An Irreversible Distance or Total Embeddedness?

Creative Commons License

Aybars A. İ. , Ayata A.

International Journal of Contemporary Sociology, vol.56, pp.55-85, 2019 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 56
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.trsl.2019.10.005
  • Journal Name: International Journal of Contemporary Sociology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus, ASSIA, IBZ Online, Historical Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Political Science Complete, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.55-85


This study examines the development of the relations between the state and the women’s movement in Turkey in the period of Justice and Development Party (JDP) governments through the experiences and accounts of the major women’s organizations themselves. It puts the period since 2002 onwards, which is marked by subsequent JPD governments, under scrutiny, and points to an increasingly “irreversible distance” among independent organizations and the government, in line with a gradual transformation of the latter’s approach to women’s rights and gender equality. The fact that government has actively been creating its own “embedded” institutions, in this process, together with the increasing distance it puts to independent women’s movements, has crucial repercussions for women’s rights and gender equality in Turkey. On the basis of in-depth interviews with six major women’s organizations in Turkey, the paper examines this transformation in terms of (i) the dialogue and communication between the government and women’s organizations, (ii) the dialogue within the women’s movement itself, and (iii) women’s organizations’ own perception of change.